One the the surest ways to determine where your home is losing energy is to have an energy audit. You can conduct your own simple but diligent walk-through and uncover problems that can have simple fixes. You can also uncover little problems before they become big home improvement projects.
DIY Energy Audits
Late last month we shared some information on DIY energy audits. This time we dig a little deeper and share some details that will help save on every costs and make your home more comfy.
As you take an in-depth walk through your home, keep a checklist of the areas you inspected and the problems you found. This list will help you prioritize your energy efficiency upgrades. Remember that energy-saving technology has evolved rapidly and even newer home might still benefit from this process.
Locate Air Leaks
Check for indoor air leaks, such as gaps along the baseboard or edge of the flooring and at junctures of the walls and ceiling. Inspect windows, doors, lighting and plumbing fixtures as well as switches and electrical outlets.
Also check for leaks on the outside of your home, especially in areas where two different building materials meet. Make a list of the most obvious air leaks and drafts.
The potential energy savings from reducing drafts in a home may range from 10% to 20% per year, and the home is generally much more comfortable afterward. You might also identify windows and doors that should possibly be replaced. Tri-County Windows and Siding can be a source of good advice on these projects.
Finally, make sure you seal all air leaks with caulk or other appropriate materials.
Check your Insulation
Heat loss through your ceilings or walls could be significant if the insulation levels are less than recommended minimums. Consider when your home was built; the builder should have installed the amount of insulation recommended at that time. Given today’s construction technology, the level of insulation might now be inadequate.
Check your attic level insulation and determine whether openings for items such as pipes, ductwork, and chimneys are sealed. Seal any gaps with an expanding foam caulk or some other permanent sealant. Checking wall insulation levels is more difficult and you may need to consult a professional.
Inspect HVAC Systems
You should have an HVAC professional check and clean your equipment once a year. If you have a forced-air furnace, check your filters and replace them as needed. This is a simple task each homeowner can be proactive with. Filters should be changed once every month or two, especially during periods of high usage.
Also check your ductwork for dirt streaks that can indicate air leaks. These should be sealed with a duct tape or mastic.
If your HVAC unit is more than 15 years old, you should consider replacing your system with one of the newer energy-efficient units. A new unit would greatly reduce your energy consumption, especially if the existing equipment is in poor condition.
Review Your Lighting
Energy used by lighting accounts for about 10% of your electric bill. Take a survey of all active fixtures and consider replacing the bulbs with more efficient choices like CFS’s or LED’s. When shopping for bulbs, consider the brightness of the bulbs you want and look for lumens (and not watts) on the labels. You can also utilize controls like sensors, dimmers or timers to reduce lighting use.
Get Professional Help
Once you have finished your do-it-yourself audit, consider calling in a pro to complete a more thorough assessment – or contacting Tri-County Windows and Siding for needed upgrades and replacements in your home.
For More Energy Audit details see Dominion Power.